Rayudu's century of hope

Mumbai, Feb. 10 -- Living in anonymity while your contemporaries enjoy success at the highest level is tough to accept, especially if one is as talented as Ambati Rayudu.

The Hyderabad batsman who now plays for Baroda has seen it all, but seems to be finally hitting the right notes. Playing in a Irani Cup tie more than a decade after his first class debut, Rayudu made optimum use of the opportunity by scoring a century.

His unbeaten 118 along with Manoj Tiwary's fighting 69 meant there were no twists and turns on Day 4 at the Wankhede.

Having achieved a handy first innings lead over Ranji champions Mumbai, Rest of India (ROI) batted without pressure.

And at stumps on Saturday, they were 296 for four even without forcing the pace, an overall lead of 413.

Rayudu was captain of the 2004 under-19 World Cup team that included the likes of Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan. Both both made it to international cricket while Rayudu failed to take the next step.

However, the second half of 2012 appeared to ring in a change as Rayudu made it to the India 'A' squads to the West Indies and New Zealand. And he is also in the Board President's XI to face Australia in a warm-up game.

Taking charge

After a spell of tight bowling by the Mumbai medium-pacers in the morning to scalp Murali Vijay and nightwatchman S Sreesanth, Rayudu drove an out-swinger from Shardul Thakur for four to break the shackles.

He was comfortable against reverse swing too, playing with a straight bat. When the spinners were in action, Rayudu enjoyed stepping down the wicket and slamming straight sixes.

Having scored a fifty in the first innings, Rayudu was happy to capitalise on the start. "I threw it away in the first innings, so I wanted to make sure I keep batting, no matter how many runs I got. I was just trying to spend time at the wicket."

Tiwary, who fell leg before in the first innings playing a T20-style shot to leg, appeared to get a doubtful decision from umpire, Subroto Das, who ruled him caught off left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar when the ball had only brushed his forearm.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.


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